Tag:Will Muschamp to Florida
Posted on: December 15, 2010 12:53 pm
 

UF to become Alabama-Gainesville under Muschamp?

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Will Muschamp had the pleasure of working under both head coaches from last year's national championship game, serving as Nick Saban's defensive coordinator at LSU (and again with the Miami Dolphins ) and as Mack Brown's DC and coach-in-(not)-waiting-(any longer) at Texas.

But the early reports on his tenure and yesterday's introductory news conference left no doubt which of those two coaches Muschamp wants to emulate, whose methods he has the greater respect for, whose program he wants to refashion for himself in Gainesville. We'll give you a hint: it's not the guy whose staff he just abandoned.

No, it's Saban who Muschamp appears to be taking his cues from, starting with Muschamp's attempts to pluck away Saban's current Muschamp-in-training, Kirby Smart. As a Saban-trained coordinator himself, Muschamp could have looked to bring in a coach with a different philosophy and blend the two approaches; instead, he appears to be trying to hire a coach who can impart what he -- and the coordinator, if Smart or another Saban disciple is hired -- learned from the master with the minimum amount of confusion (or dissent) possible.

Even more telling is Muschamp's approach to the Gator offense :

 

"We will be a pro-style attack offensively and defensively," said Muschamp, who has agreed to a five-year, $13.5 million contract ...

"I know there's going to be a lot of people who ask what type of style offense are we going to be," Muschamp said. "I think it's important that we have some pro-style systems to what we want to do.

" ... Will there be more pro-style ideas in our offense? There certainly will be. We want to be balanced in what we do."

Muschamp also said he wanted his new offensive coordinator to have NFL experience. Despite the overwhelming success of the spread in the current college game -- both of the offenses in this year's BCS title game will be helmed by spread gurus who, far from being NFL veterans, were a New Hampshire assistant and a high school coach just a few short years ago -- it may be a good time to move towards a pro-style set, as those offenses become rarer and enjoy some of the change-of-pace aspect the spread utilized in the past.

That doesn't mean it'll be easy, however. The current Gators were recruited exclusively for Urban Meyer's/Dan Mullen's spread-option attack, and the offensive staff will have to be completely overhauled. But the Saban-taught philosophy Muschamp is trying to instill requires a run-heavy, clock-killing, two-tight-end-power approach to give the hypothetically-overpowering defense its opportunity win the game (not to mention appeal to NFL-hungry recruits), and so that's what the Gators will do.

These are all good ideas, of course. There's a reason Saban has been as overwhelmingly successful as he's been at every stop of his college career, and even the reasons that go beyond his X's-and-O's or administrative prowess -- his inhuman work rate, his ability to close the deal with recruits, his detail-focused willingness to control every aspect of his program -- are traits that Muschamp would seem to share. There's no reason to blame Jeremy Foley for asking Muschamp to provide a second Crimson Tide in Gator colors, especially since the odds appear so good that Muschamp's going to give it to them.

But what if he doesn't? Part of what has made Florida Florida over the past two decades has been their unorthodox thinking under two coaching mavericks in Steve Spurrier and Meyer. Both of them arrived with offenses derided as effeminate jokes that would never work in the SEC, then departed with national title rings and new Heismans in the school's trophy case. Gator fans have been accustomed not only to winning, but of winning in a uniquely identifiable, Florida-first fashion.

That's not to say they won't accept victories as a kind of SEC East edition of the current Tide; if what we might call Alabama-Gainesville winds up with a championship or two under Muschamp, you could probably sell them officially-licensed UAG t-shirts. But if Muschamp can't deliver the goods, if it turns out Foley hasn't hired the new Saban but only the Nutrasweet facsimile of the real thing, Florida fans may wonder (and wonder quickly, and vocally ) if they shouldn't have found another coach -- like Spurrier, like Meyer -- willing to build the Gators in his own image rather than someone else's.

 

Posted on: December 14, 2010 11:48 am
Edited on: December 14, 2010 12:51 pm
 

Applewhite not joining Gator staff

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

The time between the announcement that Will Muschamp had become the new Florida head coach and the rumor that he'd be bringing fellow Texas staff member and former Alabama offensive coordinator Major Applewhite along as his offensive coordinator was so small you'd have to measure it in nanoseconds.

But like so many other assumptions made during the coaching carousel's silly season, it turns out a gun was being jumped , as the Gainesville Sun is reporting that Applewhite has either decided to turn Muschamp down -- with the departure of Greg Davis at Texas, he could be in line for a promotion in Austin -- or Muschamp has decided to go in a different direction. Either way, Applewhite won't be coming to Gainesville.

If that's despite overtures from Muschamp, the Gators might be receiving a blessing the disguise. Though Florida has enough raw offensive talent that virtually anyone who isn't Steve Addazio could turn them into a functional attack, Gator fans spoiled by the Steve Spurrier and Tim Tebow years likely won't settle for "functional," and unless Muschamp's defense is truly terrifying, "functional" won't win the championships the Gators have become accustomed to, either. Applewhite already has a long and promising career as a position coach, but his turn at the Tide's wheel was anything but revelatory, as Alabama limped in at 75th in total offense that season and (by most accounts out of Tuscaloosa) was only saved from demotion by his move to a lower-rung position in Austin.

Though Applewhite may have learned enough from his one season as a play-caller and his last couple of years under Mack Brown to succeed in his next attempt in the coordinator's chair, there's no question he'd be something of an unknown quantity. This being Florida, the Gators likely don't have to settle for an unknown quantity. Though Dana Holgorsen may be looking elsewhere and Auburn has probably wrapped up Gus Malzahn for at least this offseason, Muschamp should just about have his pick of the rest of the nation's OC's. Applewhite may, in fact, be a good choice ... but from here, it still seems the Gators can do better.


Posted on: December 13, 2010 11:28 am
 

Did Mack Brown abandon plan to retire in 2010?

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Plenty of reasons have been offered in the wake of Will Muschamp's surprising departure for the Florida head coaching job: the chance to take over a program as ready-built as the Gators', his hometown ties to Gainesville, the chance to build his own handpicked staff from scratch rather than inherit Mack Brown's choices, and maybe most prominently, fatigue from waiting for Brown to hand over the Texas head coaching chair Muschamp had been promised.

That last reason may have picked up a little extra steam this morning, as columnist Kirk Bohls of the Austin American-Statesman claims that Muschamp had already been promised a date to take over the Longhorns ... and that Brown had blown the deadline off :
At least one source told me Brown had decided in the offseason to step down at the end of the 2010 season, but he changed his mind after his first losing season at Texas, worried that his legacy had been tarnished.

Muschamp was annoyed by the decision, sources close to the football program have said, and chose to leave what he thought was promised him: arguably the best coaching position in the country because of Texas' enormous resources, facilities and budget and the recruiting edge that is the Lone Star State.

If that's the case, Brown (somewhat ironically) may very well wind up tarnishing his legacy even further. If Muschamp goes on to success at Florida and Brown fails to revive the 'Horns under his overhauled staff , Brown won't just be the coach who went 5-7; he'll be the coach who drove away the coach that would have gotten the 'Horns back from 5-7.

Even that shouldn't be enough to dent Brown's remarkable tenure in Austin, given his laundry list of accomplishments and national championship ring. But there's also no question that it will if that's how things play out. As Bohls points out, the coach-in-waiting scheme embarked on by Brown, Muschamp, and Texas comes with a number of inherent risks. But it's not really the scheme that's been the risk for Brown -- it'll be agreeing to it without a firm date for the baton exchange ... and, if Bohls is right, not living up to a date that Muschamp must have expected was firm enough.

 


 
 
 
 
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